dahl and coconut chutney1

Sometimes experiments really turn out to be keepers.  I am an experimental person.  Believe me, if I don’t note down what all I put in the pan, I will really forget it before I know and when someone asks me for the recipe I will be totally blank, because I am so forgetful.

So I actually started jotting down good experiments so that I can do them again.

For me, while cooking if I see something lying unutilized I will be thinking how to put it to some good use, or quickly freeze it in the hope of making something out of it instead of wasting it.  I am also very capricious in the kitchen and my people find it strange.  I will add anything I fancy in the pan, if I feel the flavours will work.  Honestly, most of the time the flavours do work and I end up having a great tasting dish.

Coming to the recipe, this was one such experiment.  I have always heard and read of lentils being added to the tadka (tempering) for the coconut chutney but I have never tried it myself.  It has always been the passé method of simply grinding coconut with some spices and curry leaves, which really is delicious.  But in search of change, one day I tried putting together all that I have read and heard into the pan and really was impressed with what I got.  Infact, everybody in the house enjoyed this sparkling chutney.  I have till this day, from that day on, made this most often than the older version.

It might not be new to a lot of Indians, specially South Indians, but for me it was.  Even my mom is impressed.

Whilst on it, I want to share a tip with you.  Most often for people who do not use coconut too much in their cooking, but do get it once in a while.  You can have the whole coconut grated and stored in a container in the freezer.  It lasts forever and whenever you need coconut instantly for some chutney just take the box out and if you have time leave it to thaw or just carefully microwave it till it thaws.  This is a real life-saver.  I usually have two coconuts grated on the mbuzi (Swahili word for coconut grater) and tuck it in the freezer for anytime I need fresh grated coconut.

Here goes the recipe


1 tspn oil

1 cup – fresh grated coconut

1 tspn – split peas (channa dahl)

1 tspn – urad dhuli (split and husked black split gram)

1 tspn – moong dhuli (split and husked green gram)

2 dry Kashmiri red chillies

1 green chilli

4 twigs of curry leaves

1 inch pc of ginger

1 tspn + more salt

1 tbspn – thick tamarind pulp (soak a small ball of tamarind and make a thick pulp using the water)

or use 1 tspn amchoor (dry mango powder)

a little warm water to grind


In a small pan heat a tspn of oil.

Add all the lentils and let them get golden.

Add the red chillies and 2 twigs of curry leaves and stir for just about a few seconds till the chillies start changing colour

Now put in the coconut and stir well for a minute.

Let this mixture get a little cold, just enough to be ground in the blender.

Put in all the other ingredients and using a little warm water grind into a smooth paste.

Adjust salt and chillies as per your taste.

This is just an addictive chutney and you will be licking it off your fingers for sure.   I served it with an egg dosa, which I will  be posting soon.


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